Pearce still not satisfied
Stuart Pearce still wants more from his Nottingham Forest team despite a 1-0 win at
Sheffield Wednesday, while Stuart Gray was disappointed with the result but not the performance of his Owls side.
Pearce's reign at the City Ground could not have begun better as they lead the early Sky Bet Championship table after four wins from five games, the latest courtesy of Henri Lansbury's first-half header at Hillsborough.
But it was by no means a comfortable afternoon for Forest as Wednesday put them under real pressure, and had it not been for a string of saves from goalkeeper Karl Darlow, the hosts would have taken something from the game.
And the former England defender is challenging his team to get better.
"I'm pleased how we stand at this moment in time, but my message is we have to improve," Pearce said. "There are four or five areas of the game we can get better at and the players realise that.
"The more demands I put on the players and the more they put on themselves, the more we will improve.
"The block of games has been a fantastic learning curve. There hasn't been one game where I have been entirely satisfied. Maybe I have set my standards too high, but I don't think I have."
One area that Pearce is content with is his side's commitment to the cause as, in addition to Darlow's heroics, it was several last-ditch challenges from Forest that protected their win.
"The one thing this squad has got is real character, a never-say-die attitude," said the Forest boss.
"The way at times when we threw our bodies in the way echoes what they have got in the dressing room.
"In certain games we have had to show character, when you come to places like this you have to dig in.
"The only thing that surprised me in the second half is that we didn't hit them on the break and extend the lead."
Owls boss Stuart Gray was left scratching his head as to how his side did not even claim a point, but takes comfort in seeing how far they have come.
After Lansbury's strike eight minutes before half-time, the Owls put up a sterling rally in a bid to get back into the game, with Stevie May going close three times and Darlow producing fine saves to deny Chris Maguire and Atdhe Nuhiu.
But they could not make the breakthrough they deserved and succumbed to a first defeat, although on this showing Gray's men will not be embroiled in the relegation fights of the last two years and could be play-off candidates.
"Sometimes you don't get what you deserve. It shows how far we have came as a team, to be sat here disappointed, to feel we should have got a point and maybe even could have won," said Gray.
"We dominated the second half and we just couldn't get a break.
"Their goalkeeper was probably man of the match, that tells you something.
"You could see the effort and commitment. I said to the boys that's the standard, they can't drop from that.
"The boys deserve all the credit. We have set the bar high, we don't fear anybody now.
"We have got a lot of confidence. To play like that against Nottingham Forest, who will be up there, gives us confidence.
"We made them look an average team at times, but the game is all about sticking the ball into the back of the net."